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Jesus Loves Malawi Update

July, 2015
Pop Quiz: What month is it when days are short, nights are cold, poinsettia flowers are
everywhere and citrus is in rich supply? Well, it's July, of course at least when you live in
Malawi :) So while friends and family were celebrating Canada Day and 4th of July, our kids
said: It feels like we should be setting up the Christmas tree. It is no surprise then when we
spontaneously break out in Christmas songs! (Btw, we celebrated Canada Day with a little
camp fire in the back yard and some roasted marshmallows that Steffi had bought a year ago
in Canada for this very purpose. How is that for planning ahead?)
July also marks the one year anniversary of our
return to Malawi. Malawi is home to us and we can't
imagine living anywhere else at this point in our lives.
The seasons still seem to confuse our internal clocks,
though: when the corn harvest is being brought in here
and pumpkins are everywhere, it's time to celebrate
Easter. When it gets unbearably hot, dust coats
everything and we prepare the fields for planting it's
Thanksgiving time in North America. And when
everything turns beautiful lush green we celebrate
Christmas here. Thankfully, God is always the same
and does not change, no matter the season or the
continent you are on!

Elianna smelling the thyme


in our herb spiral.

Our one year anniversary here also marks a shift in focus. We've had a deliberate year-long
focus on language learning, along with other preparations. Now we are prayerfully
considering how we will increase our direct involvement in ministry. Not that we have
completely mastered Chichewa, but we feel that we have a foundation from which we can
continue to improve our language skills while we reach out more. There are many needs in
Malawi and MANY open doors and ways to get involved, please pray for us for guidance and
discernment regarding where and how to invest our time.
Since we have arrived here
weve made a number of
changes and improvements
on this property and are
turning it more and more into
a small demonstration farm
Before
After soil improvement.
where we try different
methods and crops to see what works best here so we can show others. We have built water
harvesting swales, set up different composting systems, raised and slaughtered close to 100
chickens, are currently raising 35 laying hens, preparing a bigger hen house to add other
poultry, hung a bee hive, planted trees and berry bushes, and most of all used various natural
methods to improve the soil. Last year we could barely grow weeds in our infertile clay soil,
whose top soil had been removed to make bricks. This year we are already seeing
tremendous improvements in our vegetable beds!

The last couple of months we had some opportunities


to host or be involved in some compost making
training, and even field preparation training has already
begun. Normally that is done closer to planting time
(November or December), but in years where the
harvest was bad people are eager to prepare their
fields earlier. Maybe because they know that heavy
work will be more difficult on an empty stomach? At one
of the trainings a farmer, who had already been using
Farming God's Way methods told me that he was able
Training in making compost.
to harvest about six times more than his neighbors! It's
no wonder then, that his neighbors were attending the training, eagerly wanting to learn more!
Please pray with us for the country of Malawi. Since last year's harvest was so poor, much
hunger is expected in the months to come.
While the physical needs around us are great, we continue to be reminded of the spiritual
needs. Just this week we talked with a very nice young lady whose name is Sorcery.
(Malawian names often reflect some event or circumstance surrounding a birth.) We have
also been reminded again that our mere presence here is a testimony. A young lady recently
observed Steffi and the kids playing with Elianna and was so touched that she now regularly
leaves flowers in our gate to bless us! Please continue to pray that we will be positive
examples in our everyday lives.
A final prayer request is about water. For many months now we have not been getting water
during the day, and occasionally not at night either. It makes life more challenging and helps
us realize just how much water we need every single day. It's much easier to live without
electricity than without water! Thankfully, we have a reserve water tank (which wasn't working
properly, but is now finally fixed). It provides at least
some cold water for awhile, but if the city water stays off
for days on end even this backup runs dry. Please pray
that the city water board resolves this situation soon!
Almost two months ago we took possession of our car.
It's been a huge blessing to have wheels again and we
want to once more thank all of you who prayed and gave
towards this vehicle. Having a vehicle that can handle
off-roading has already come in handy on several
occasions.

Handy to have wheels again!

Thank you so much for your prayers, love, and faithful support. We feel blessed knowing that
you are partnering with us here. May God bless you richly in return.
With Love,
The Babcocks,

Dean, Stephanie, Christopher, Jonathan, Sarah, and Elianna